Monday, July 31, 2006

Situational Ethics...

It's probably a cliche, but the more time I spend on this planet, the more accepting of the so-called "messed up state of things" I become. Which is to say some of my high flying, emphatic, dogmatic, outraged idealism is finding some roots in reality. It's a personal development I hadn't counted on, and I am mystified and fascinated by its gradual unfolding.

For example, rather than bemoaning the state of the environment, I believe that the environment is as exactly overburdened as it should be - given the human population and behaviors we've got. Because the human machine is hard-wired to sense it's own mistakes, there's a good chance that we'll be able to rally and begin to make amends. Of course there are variables: maybe greed and narrow-mindedness will block our recognition of certain impending realities, or maybe our wiring is finally too slow to respond in time to the mega-decay wrought by our technology enhanced global impact. These are the risks we face. I accept that the fate of the planet could go either way, though, of course, I hope for and champion actions that support the favorable outcome.

Brother Pigatschmo spends a great deal of energy declaring his "anti" position on many things: smoking, meat eating, cowboy politics, etc. I respect him greatly for his clarity and strength of belief. He refuses to participate in meat eating because he is against the killing of animals. He believes if everyone did the math and realized how horrible it is to kill animals, we'd all come around to vegetarianism eventually. I, on the other hand, do eat meat (see Ribs below. Delish.) I do not like the killing of animals, but I accept that animals are killed in order to make the meat I eat. I understand that no matter what sort of activism I engage in, animals will continue to be slaughtered. And given the human population and behaviors we are saddled with, I accept that part of the cycle of life is death. And one not-so-pretty sub category of that cycle is that people will use death to sustain life.

For this reason I find bullfighting to be a very beautiful and deeply resonant form of performance art. It dares to incorporate the horror of actual killing - the ultimate punctuation - in an otherwise dreamy carnal pageant.

(Photo by the brilliant Lucien Clergue)


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